Unit 3

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


English III

Unit Length and Description:


9 weeks


The novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald will allow students to further explore the concept of the American Dream and lead students to an understanding that the “good life” is not always what we believe it will be. They will explore how various pieces of American literature, as well as this great American novel, treats the topic and considers different perspectives.  The research element in this unit will allow students to investigate the time period and discover the underlying causes of problems during the period.  The American Dream will provide excerpts that align with the ideals revealed in The Great Gatsby.


This unit will focus on craft and structure and integration of knowledge and ideas.  Writing will be predominately narrative with some focus on informational/explanatory and argumentative.




Reading Literature:

Skill(s): integrating and evaluating diverse formats of media

  • The students can:
    • analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem, evaluating how each version interprets the source text.


Skill(s): analyzing two or more texts

  • The students can:
    • know and read a range of earlier major works in American literature, comparing how two or more of these texts from the same period, though not necessarily from the same genre, treat the same theme or topic.


Reading Informational Texts:


Skill(s): integrate/evaluate diverse content (various media)

  • The students can:
    • examine a range of sources in different media or formats, all focused on how to solve a problem or address a question, choosing the best response to the question or problem.


Skill(s): delineating/evaluating arguments/claims

  • The students can:
    • delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy.


Skill(s): analyzing two or more informational texts

  • The students can:
    • analyze seventh-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century foundational U.S. documents of historical and literary significance for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features.




Skill(s): narrative writing

  • The students can:
    • write narratives to develop real or imagines experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences by:
      • engaging and orienting the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation and its significance, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; creating smooth progression of experiences or events,
      • using narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines to develop experiences, events, and/or characters,
      • using a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole and build toward a particular tone and outcome,
      • using precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters, and
      • providing a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolves over the course of the narrative.


Skill(s): gathering information and assessing credibility

  • The students can:
    • gather relevant information from multiple authoritative digital and print sources, using advanced searches effectively,
    • assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience,
    • integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance of any one source, and
    • follow a standard format for citation.


Skill(s): drawing evidence to support analysis, reflection, or research.

  • The students can:
    • draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research by:
      • applying grades 11-12 reading standards to literature, and
      • applying grades 11-12 reading standards to literary nonfiction.


Speaking and Listening:


Skill(s): presenting appropriate information

  • The students can:
    • deliver presentations using language that establishes and communicates a cogent, specific viewpoint whose logic the audience grasps, even as it considers additional or conflicting arguments, and
    • organize and refine all information, details, and evidence in a style and manner appropriate to their objective and audience and a variety of both formal and informal tasks.


Skill(s): using digital media

  • The students can:
    • incorporate various digital media in strategic ways that improve listeners’ understanding of and engagement with ideas, results, or other evidence presented, and
    • format and design content in presentations using color, size, and fonts, as well as the arrangement and display of any content to communicate the substance and meaning of their ideas and findings. 


Skill(s): adapting speech, demonstrating command of language

  • The students can:
    • distinguish between different occasions or situations, shaping their speech – its content, style, tone, and format – according to the student’s purpose, and the needs of the audience, which may be a small or large group of people the student does or does not know, depending on the occasion and the context of the speech,
    • decide, in light of their purpose and audience, what style or language to use, whether it is best to use more formal diction and syntax or a more informal, familiar tone, and
    • know the difference between the two and why a more formal tone is best for certain situations, and why it is always best to speak according to the conventions of formal English.




Skill(s): determine word meaning

  • The student can:
    • apply a range of strategies to derive or elucidate the meaning of any unfamiliar or multiple-meaning words found in grades 11-12 texts.


Skill(s): demonstrate understanding of word relationships/meanings

  • The student can:
    • show they know and can apply their knowledge of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in the words they use when writing, speaking, and especially reading those complex texts they encounter in grades 11-12.



Enduring Understandings:


·         Reading American literature allows the reader to experience the joys and sorrows of the time period.


·         An individual’s dream can determine his or her actions in his or her life and/or relationships.


·         Different time periods dictate the definition of success in America.


·         Modernism continues to keep the American literary tradition alive.


·         Our perceptions of others are not necessarily reality.


Essential Questions:


·         How does reading American literature help us learn about the culture of the time period?


·         What place does a dream or vision have in one's life and/or relationships?


·         What does it mean to be successful in America?


·         How does Modernism fit into the American literary tradition?


·         Is it true that we spend too much of our lives convincing others that we are someone we are not?